Thoughts on the Future of Technology from ceBIT

Say What attended ceBIT last weekend where I was a keynote speaker. I took a few moments to talk with him about my thoughts on the conference, the iPad 2, Skype and FaceTime.

While the conference has gotten a bit smaller over the years (as with other trade shows), I definitely was surprised to see just how big ceBIT was. In my mind, it saw more attendees than even CES did this year. I hate seeing the decline: trade shows are really the only way you can get out there to see the new products and meet the people and teams behind them. You simply cannot make that same connection through a web page or social media account.

I have to say that the coolest things I saw at the conference dealt with assistive devices, such as the intendiX. I’ve long said that technology is becoming more pervasive rather than invasive. That has never been more apparent than it was during my time in Germany.

Some of the things I witnessed while I was here blew my mind. These types of advancements were things we only dreamed of less than ten years ago. Technology is transforming the human experience. I may be able to walk, talk and see but not everyone can do those things. The technologies of today are making it so that everyone is on a level playing field. It’s bridging the gap between those who already could – and those who were waiting for that little bit of help to be able to.

I believe the best and most important tech advances come from simple hacks. Take the Kinect: we’d have never had something of this magnitude if it weren’t for hackers who were tinkering and making gadgets do what they weren’t designed to do out of the box. Geeks see promise in something and take those idea to bring something else. Inspiration leads to inspiration.

The seemingly silly gadgets and gizmos inspire someone to create something better. By seeing what’s already out there, you can then gain a better understanding of where the industry is going. It gives you perspective. Never forget to look beyond yourself and your ego-centric view to the larger picture.

After discussing the conference in depth, we laughed over the fact that I stayed up far too late in order to watch the iPad 2 announcement. I’ve already given my initial thoughts about the device in another video. I will remind you that it’s not about the apps or the hardware: it’s about the experience.

Talking about the camera being integrated led to us bringing FaceTime into the mix. I predict that within a year, we will see Apple shipping a FaceTime application for Windows. Skype sucks in my opinion… FaceTime is where it’s at. It’s video calling done right. Apple has made it simple, clean and easy. That combination makes it appealing to users on all operating system.

What are your thoughts on ceBIT if you were there – or any of the trade shows you may have attended recently? Which technologies really stood out to you?